Post-debate thoughts

For heaven’s sake. The Ryan-Wyden plan was released today and there was not one substantive question on health policy. I thought there would be something; I was wrong. In fact, this debate seemed far more concerned with process than with substance overall.

I’m forced to think again to four years ago. This was mid-November 2007 coverage of a Democratic primary debate:

In one of the liveliest exchanges of the Democratic debate last night, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said that Senator Barack Obama’s health care plan “would leave 15 million Americans out.” That, Mrs. Clinton added in an ominous nod to the early nominating states, is “about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire.” Mr. Obama countered that “the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care.”

The crux of their dispute centers on their overall approaches to health care.

Mrs. Clinton’s plan would require all Americans to get coverage and would provide subsidies to make it more affordable. Mr. Obama’s plan would require only children to have coverage; his plan would require employers to provide coverage or contribute to a new public program that would make insurance more affordable to people not covered by their jobs or by the government.

Why is health care reform not an issue in these debates? There wasn’t even the usual “how quickly would you repeal Obamacare” question. Is it the candidates? Is it the party? Is it the moderators? Why is this not being discussed?


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